Light at night and breast cancer incidence in Connecticut: An ecological study of age group effects

Boris A. Portnov, Richard G. Stevens, Holly Samociuk, Daniel Wakefield, David I. Gregorio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to test the prediction that within the state of Connecticut, USA, communities with high nighttime outdoor light level would have higher breast cancer incidence rates. Breast cancer cases were identified from the Connecticut Tumor Registry, the oldest within the United States, for years 2005 and 2009 and geocoded to the 829 census tracts in the state. Nighttime light level (LAN) was obtained from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP), 1996/97 satellite image, providing a 10-year lag. Regression models were used incorporating the LAN levels and census level data on potential confounders for the whole female population of the state, and for separate age groups. Light level emerged as a significant predictor of breast cancer incidence. After taking account of several potential confounders, the excess risk in the highest LAN level census tracts compared to the lowest was about 63% (RR = 1.63; 95% CI = 1.41, 1.89). The association of LAN with breast cancer incidence weakened with age; the association was strongest among premenopausal women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1020-1024
Number of pages5
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.


  • Breast cancer
  • Circadian disruption
  • Ecological study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


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